Mediacorp has announced the following two dates for the Party Political Broadcast:
28 Apr 2011
6 May 2011
It also announced the ‘format’ for the broadcast without details beyond that only political parties with at least six candidates would be given TV and radio times and the one with the largest number of candidates will have the last say, i.e. would speak last.
There are a couple of issues with this from past experiences:
1. The ‘formula’ used to determine the time allocation appeared to be completely arbitrary, but is plainly loaded against the opposition parties. One can still recall the very rushed looks on opposition parties’ representatives like Chiam See Tong, who barely had enough time to squeeze in a coherent message to voters.
Why should this be the case? The GE is about ALL OF US and
the parties willing and wishing to represent us in parliament. All of them deserve a fair hearing by us, the people. We are voting for OUR parliament.
2. If there is any decency, any sense of fairplay in the PAP, it should be instructing Mediacorp to work on the basis of allowing the smallest party i.e. the one with the least time ‘entitlement’ the time and space it requires to read out a precisely written message focused on its highest priority in the GE, and to apply multiples of that to the rest of the political parties, including the PAP. With this method, the ruling party may well end up with significantly more time than the rest. Be that as it may, it is their privilege as the ruling party that surely no one would begrudge.
But if the broadcast would be a repeat of the past, then it is a no-brainer to conclude that PM Lee’s promise to ‘fix the opposition’ is very much alive! You have to give it to that man that he will keep his words!
3. My next point is even more serious. The ruling party is apparently breaking its own election laws which it enacted only months earlier. Cooling off day, which is on the eve of polling day, was supposedly to ‘allow’ the electorate the time to think carefully before they cast their vote the next day instead of being ‘unduly’ influenced by the final push of political parties. All electioneering and political activities are banned under the pains of punishment and sanction by the law. But yet paradoxically the second and last party political broadcast is scheduled for that day, 6 May 2011. The PAP being the largest party will be taking the lion’s share of this time slot.
Go, form your own conclusion what the PAP message could be – to bad-mouth the opposition without any opportunity for them to reply (is there a rule made against this in the format?) or threaten or sweet talk or beguile the electorate into giving it five more years of ‘party first, people second‘ self-serving rule?
On my part, if I find that the unfair and unpatriotic practices of the ruling party persist, I shall impose self-censorship, black out its message by the simple expedience of switching-off my TV. Seeing and hearing no evils.
WE DO HAVE A CHOICE, AFTER ALL!
N.B. The author has no affiliation with any political party. He was an admirer of the PAP until it became evident that it has changed beyond recognition and no longer bear any semblance to the party that he had originally once admired. He feels it his duty to point out that the country is going down the drain if current trends continue unarrested.